Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Feeling Small

I long for my childhood like one longs for a friend who has died. I long for the simplicity of the time and the pure and unaffected way I grew up. In the South during the mid-nineties, in a lower-middle class family, I do not remember television shows, or movies. We read books. We played outside.

We lived in our imaginations.

I long for my childhood because it was warm and whole and we were tightly knit. I never worried about the things I worry about now - money, love, death, jobs, relationships, walking the dog and controlling my weight. I worried about the distance between our house and the woods and how long we could stay under the cover of the trees before being called home. I wished that the spring would quickly turn into summer so I could play softball again. I wanted it to be Christmas so I could strain to hear hoof-beats on the roof as Santa made his way down our chimney.

My childhood was idyllic.

I would hope and like to imagine that everyone's is - that we are all too innocent and ignorant (aren't they the same for children?) to be aware of the nasty emotion that is "worry." I want to return to that place, where the house I grew up in was a white mansion with dozens of rooms and wooden floors that gleamed for miles, shining beneath layers of Murphy's Wood Oil. I want to exist in a place where the only way of tracking time was the position of the sun behind the colossal pecan trees. The plains were vast, the sweet tea was endless and the sound of locusts whirred me to sleep as I imagined myself Princess Rose, nestled at home, safe in her bed.

I felt so small then.

I feel small now, but in a more insignificant way. As children, we feel small as ants feel small - in size but not of importance. Our games and twittering conversation and homework assignments were events and just as important as the conversations and errands of our parents. Now, the smallness that I feel is that of being lost. When I feel small, I am not standing out, or important, and feel as if at any point I could just be swept away - never to be seen again. My smallness is found in my single-status, in my unfulfilling job, in my inability to resist spending money frivolously and eating ice cream and wasting away the hours watching reruns of shows I have already seen. No one cares what I do and I answer to no one but my dog. And she doesn't really care.
Children do not have to concern themselves with bills or the pressure that hovers like a heavy cloud of whether or not they are a success, or will find a husband, or make their parents and friends proud. They do not have deadlines and weigh-ins. They are not aware of death.

I want to go back and start over again.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Terrible Thoughts

I feel like a terrible person. Have you ever had those weeks, or days, or mornings, or even five minutes here and there when you hate everything, everyone and every fiber of your own being that you would rather implode and disappear than carry on with even one more breath? Apologies for the weight of this post but writing this out might alleviate this pressure on my chest.

I took Roxy for a walk when I got home. She peed and it was a good walk. Then we came home and I ate a wedge salad and a couple avocado egg rolls. Nothing to write home about, I ate quicker than I usually do because I was famished, but then did some free writing and Sex and the City watching for an hour to let it settle. I wanted to go for a run before the sun set. So at 5:30, we set out. She was eager and tugged with huge strength almost immediately. As soon as we got to the trail about 5 minutes in, I knew I wasn't going to do very well. The food, what I thought was little, instantly felt like the bulk and weight of a bowling ball in my gut. But Roxy, having been at home alone for no more than 5 hours today, was full of energy and was not pleased to be made to walk instead of run every 3 minutes or so.

And every time we did speed up into a jog, she pulled even harder. Although I knew she wasn't at all thinking about it or meaning to, I felt like I was being punished - punished for leaving her, punished for not providing a yard for her, punished for not playing as much with her, punished for not setting up the pee-pad my mother bought for her. I resented her energy and youth and 0% body fat. I was hating my dog because I was hating myself and my terrible stamina.

And of course, once you allow your mind to be irrational and succumb to the waves of depression and depths of self-esteem, all things that have been kept at bay and stressing me out began to surface. I sunk lower as my demons climbed higher. I wanted a bottle of wine or a drug or a club over my head.

So, I'm trying to remember all the things that I have to be grateful for. I can do this. I can teach Roxy to run and walk better. I will be ok going to work. Roxy will be ok with me going to work. All my things and responsibilities and obligations will work themselves out. I will work them out.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Gold Dust

Here is a bit of fiction that I started several months ago and have now returned to attempts to be more productive. Here goes.

The alarm rang earlier than she would have liked, shifting her relaxed body towards its screeching and then rolling back into the sunken crevice where her lithe form had spent most of the night. She stretched her sore arms above her head, opening her mouth wide in a yawn, inhaling deeply, hoping the fresh oxygen would clear her foggy mind. Get up. She made it out of her cloud-like bed that she loved to fall into and lose herself in a death-like sleep night after night, an eternity of down. She checked her blinking phone and read the text summoning her to work. She showered then carefully began her regimen, as precise and practiced as a painter. She smoothed on her foundation in small circles, moving upwards from her feline neck towards her strawberry blonde hairline. She stroked on concealers and illuminators like one would stroke on a wisp of a cloud or the cusp of a wave on a ocean’s landscape. She fanned out her tools made of brushes and pencils, sifting various hues of powder, highlighting her cheeks and her forehead in subtle bronze and sun-kissed warmth. The coral lips now softened parted slightly to reveal balanced creamy teeth. The eyes served as the grand crescendo to her masterpiece of wearable art. Smoky and smudged, she pulled the wand from the base to her lash’s tip, extending their nature, widening her doe eyes. More liner. She drew on another line of charcoal and left, already ten minutes late.
She pulled around back to enter before the others arrived. The day was warm and the air looked hazy rising from the black pavement of the parking lot. It made the trees and stones look like they were shivering, as if fighting their permanent places lined up in rows and waving like seaweed in the sand. As she opened the back door, her eyes squinted and shifted, adjusting to the dark, trying to seek out whatever light could be found. Good morning, thank you for coming at such short notice. She smiled, her painted lips closed so as to protect a potential smudge on her porcelain teeth. Here, she knows it’s a stretch, but let’s see what you can do. You are the best. She took the offered Polaroid, walking the thick carpet, her high heels hushed in respect and bent down to hold the picture under the light of lamp. Pictures were always better than a description of what her clients wanted. Jennifer Aniston. A short bob with a clean bang. Take away the gray and replace with shimmery blonds and caramels. This picture showed a beautiful young girl, riding a horse, her jet hair black and tossed over her shoulder and reaching towards the seat of the saddle. She was smiling, mischievous and fresh-faced, a peach hue at the apples of her cheeks.
Sure thing.
The soft cream door was opened before her leading into an entirely metal room. The smell and absence of smell hit her simultaneously. She noted chemicals and cleaners to remove the smell of the chemicals - a great charade. The temperature dropped as she approached her client. It felt good at first, her body still warm from the summer heat, but soon the skin on her arms pimpled like gooseflesh. Her heels clicked and echoed in this room. She balanced on the balls of her feet to avoid the interruption of silence and headed towards the center of the room. The client’s hair was nearly white now, cold, and slipped like Christmas tinsel through her hands as she checked its strength. She never forgot that was the most jarring part of this - the absence of warmth. The head was lifted on a foam block just beneath the base of her skull. The thin, grey lips were already shut, glued together, never to grin mischievously again. The tissue-paper skin fell with gravity towards the beveled table. Her small, gray body was delicately covered with a thin blue paper, crinkly and unprotecting.
The process of returning the hair to its raven color first involved turning the once-smiling woman around so her head was at the sink. She called for the director to take the shoulders as she took her feet. On the count of one, two, three, they slowly lifted. Stiff as a feather, light as a board. Her full lips frowned as she remembered silly pajama parties and girlfriends sitting in a circle. Their small warm bodies were nothing like this ebony pillar. It mirrored the table, cold and straight, unmoving and strong enough to support her tiny weight.
She watched the inky water swirl down the sink, urging it to warm her hands and the hair, wishing it would remain living long enough to finish. But no, the faux-black silk almost immediately returned to ice as soon as it was dry. She brushed it smooth, straight and thin, falling softly over her shoulders. Who were you smiling at? She painted the small face a delicate ivory, filling in the hollow cheeks with the same warm peach she had seen in the photo. She brushed a small amount of color on the lips, enough pink so as to differentiate them from the skin. The eyes were the only parts left. She stood back for a moment, looked again at the picture and saw their hazel-green depth through heavy black lashes. The sun that day dotted her face through her straw hat, causing her to look as if she was wearing a veil. Now what? She chose to fill in the sparse lashes with black and dust a light gold over the creases. Her deeply lined face crowned with the oil-black hair gave her an Egyptian look, an unwrapped Queen. Only at certain angles, in certain light could the gold be seen; it was a trick and illusion of sunlight. It was an illumination guiding her eyes through the dark. She hoped it would give those in the next room comfort. She hoped this is what the girl on the horse would have wanted. Her job was done.
She took her check and returned the photo. She had been there less than twenty five minutes, but the day felt as if it had gotten hotter as she left and walked towards her car. She clutched the wheel and noticed a shimmer of gold on her hand that she had used to test before applying. She stretched it out the window and watched it shimmer in the sun. She felt the air dance and ripple around her hand and looking in the rearview mirror, she smiled.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


What a terrible and tragic waste, the love lost between Heathcliff and Catherine. Even though they are fictional characters, each time I revisit their story, my heart is wrenched and aches for the terrible hand that was dealt to them. Perhaps unwisely because I was alone and tired and hormonal, I watched the 2009 Masterpiece Collection starring Tom Hardy. Now, let it be known if it isn't already to some of you, I love, love Tom Hardy and it did nothing for my infatuation to see him play one of my favorite anti-heroes of all time. Needless to say I sobbed at the end. There were certainly some things that I wished they had done differently but for the most part, it was a lovely film and Mr. Hardy did a wonderful job of conveying the depths that Heathcliff was forced to inhabit. It made me wonder, however, what kind of depths and heights I may reach during my time here on earth. I hope for great things, wonderful things, things that will make me feel alive and grateful to be so lucky. Alternatively, I wonder how truly I can live without some sort of great tragedy. Will I too, have a Heathcliff? Do not get me wrong, I do not hope for misfortune, seek it out, or in any way look forward to pain, but wonder how possible it is to appreciate the light without a bit of the dark. My sister has told me before how lucky I have always been - never really experiencing any kind of struggle or hardship. To each their own, and pain and suffering is relative but she may be right. How will I know what is real and what is important until it is jeopardized? Forgive me, dark musings after dwelling on the moors of Wuthering Heights for the evening. I will try to bring something lighter tomorrow or the next day. I do, however, hope even in the most masochistic of ways, for my own Heathcliff...what feeling girl wouldn't?

Thursday, January 17, 2013


I bought a dog yesterday. She's beautiful. She's energetic and incredibly strong.
Her name is Roxy. She loves to go for walks and and prance around my apartment. She can't get enough of looking out the window and if she had her way, she would spend the entire day on the porch sniffing through the chest-sized crack. I'm too scared to let her, fearing she'll see a cat or a squirrel and tumble down three flights. I have every intention of buying some lattice to nail up and set my fears to rest. I had a moment today, after taking her for a very long walk, when she tried to run out of the door and escape. It was an awful feeling. I had only owned her for about twenty four hours so I don't think it was anything personal but I felt abandoned and rejected and terrified. I caught her. And I was very nervous all of the sudden that I couldn't do this. I have only ever been responsible for myself and suddenly I was aware of a gripping fear and that tiny and minuscule, but nagging and present feeling of resentment. I can't just swing the door wide, leave the apartment early in the morning and not return until late at night, or sleep in much too late without worrying about my carpets. But I can watch her stretch out after a long nap on the couch. I can see how excited she gets when I walk out from my bedroom to greet her in the morning. And someday, she'll sit still as I swing the door wide. Or maybe I'll have a house with a yard and a fence that she can run out and play.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Making My Way

Hello dear friends, I sit here in a cafe - waiting for the ND v. AL game to start, cheering my old home state against more recent one. Most of my days since moving here and sending my loved ones home have consisted with a lot of reading, some writing, quite a bit of spending and general mosy-ing around. I have very little direction right now and while almost all of my time is my own - I haven't set down to a strict writing schedule. I wonder if it is because I don't have internet at home yet? Either way, I have enjoyed discovering new parts of town and haunting many cafes using their WIFI. I look forward to being home though - my home - my new one. I have a visitor coming Saturday and I feel as if after that I will be able to fully invest in this new life. I have committed to a full 7 days of yoga with the option of a full 7 days of running. I did Sunday and Monday so far and see no reason why I should stop. It is going to be a great life here. Hope you are all enjoying this beautiful new year!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

And then there was one...

I have arrived. I sit here now, in a chair by the chilly window, deep in the heart of Texas. I have just sent my mother and sister off on a plane headed back north to the chilly winds and feet of white that will soon crunch beneath their tired feet, exhausted from pounding the Austin streets. It is such a strange feeling, leaving them at the airport knowing I am the one that is being left behind. I have been brought here by the best people I have ever known and probably ever will know. Yes, I am partial, but I've met a pretty good sampling and think I can say they are the best without a doubt. I am watching the sky brighten through this window, not so long ago it was a bleary grey, deceptive as to whether it was dusk or dawn. But now the blue has arrived and the clouds are tinged with slightest of pinks still holding on to a bit of the grey. It is supposed to rain tomorrow. They depart in 5 minutes. I haven't cried until just now, only able to text my Mom words of comfort for her fear of taking off in such a huge piece of metal inexplicably held up in the sky. I want to hold her hand and tell her everything will be alright, usually a little nervous myself but hiding it so she feels better. We will fly again together someday, I'm sure of it. But for now, her and my sister's hearts are being pulled away from me, rising higher as their plane begins to ascend any moment now. I sit here stationary, sniffling and grateful for this quiet corner. And now I wait to hear the chime of my phone alerting me they have landed at O'Hare. They seem so far away now but I know they will soon be close. And I will always carry their hearts, as they have and will carry mine. I'll just be a bit warmer now...